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Friday
Apr052013

Rutgers President Keeps Job After Basketball Scandal

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- The president of Rutgers University knew about a video recording that depicted men's basketball coach Mike Rice's physically and verbally abusing his players in November, but didn't watch the DVD, he told reporters Friday after announcing the resignation of the school's athletic director.

That video, made public by ESPN Tuesday, shows Rice shoving and kicking players, throwing balls at their heads and legs, and berating them with anti-gay slurs.

The New Jersey state university fired Rice Wednesday. President Robert Barchi and athletic director Tim Pernetti subsequently came under fire, with many calling for their jobs.

Pernetti tenured his resignation Friday, writing: "In connection with the incidents involving former basketball Coach Mike Rice, as was the case with all other matters which I handled on behalf of the university, I always tried my best to do what is right. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today."

The university's board of governors, however, spared Barchi, allowing him to retain the job he started six months ago.

"I want to personally apologize to the Rutgers community for the negative impact this situation has had on Rutgers," Barchi said at a news conference Friday. "I apologize to any student athletes who were harmed ... [and] apologize to [the gay] community."

 

Pernetti, AD since 2009, and Barchi said a review of the footage in November led legal counsel to determine that Rice should not be fired. Rice was instead suspended for three games and fined $50,000.

Pernetti and Barchi Friday said that was the wrong decision and Rice should have been relieved.

Barchi said he had not seen the footage until this week, but he immediately fired Rice after watching it.

The president said he had been told what the video contained, but did not know how "abusive and pervasive" the coach's actions were until watching it.

Barchi said he relied on Pernetti and the lawyers' "decision to suspend rather than fire," until he saw the footage. He took office about two months before the incident.

Several faculty members have called for Barchi to be fired, but the chair of the school's board of governors said he would not be terminated.

"I think he did right thing at the time," chair Ralph Izzo said of Barchi. "I think he's the right person to run this place for many years to come."

As for coach Rice, he apologized after his dismissal, telling WABC-TV, "I've let so many people down: my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family."

"There's no explanation for what's on that film. There's no excuse for it. I was wrong," he added. "And I want to tell everybody who's believed in me that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that I've caused."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio